14 May 23:
It's not all boats for us, we took a trip over to Portsmouth VA to visit the Railroad Museum of Virginia. As best we can tell the Museum formed up around 2012 based on the efforts of a coalition of local State, City and Community leaders. Fast forward to 2023, post pandemic, and the status of the Museum is unclear at this time. We arrived on a day that the Museum was closed, but reports from other sources indicate the the Museum has not been open even on its advertised days of Friday and Saturday. The good news is that the gates were locked and the grounds are maintained, a few signs of activity, as opposed to our visit in 2022.
We have reached out to Board member Paul Moody and hope to find out more about the Museum.
From the website:
Mission Statement: The mission of the Railroad Museum of Virginia, located at Court Street and Wythe Street, next to Olde Towne Portsmouth and the Path of History, is to collect and make available to the public for viewing, the exhibits and artifacts from the history of railroads and their people as a very important part of Virginia and America's history. The Museum will be used for the enjoyment and education of the people of Virginia of all ages
Funds were solicited at one time by the Railroad Museum in order to complete the interior restoration and to set up artifacts and exhibits for display in the railroad cars. The Railroad Museum has previously sought and received funds from the General Assembly of Virginia, Beazley Foundation, TowneBank, and others, and the City of Portsmouth has given the tracks and land on which the Museum is located, all of which has been very helpful. We are seeking to raise the additional funds needed for interior work, and other improvements.
Past: Almost 200 hundred years ago, Portsmouth was already establishing itself as a forerunner in railroading. The Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad Company in 1832 established a railroad in Portsmouth which remained here under various ownerships and forms, operating, at one time, as Seaboard Railroad Company, It operated a large railroad business out of Portsmouth, including shops with numerous employees, and later Seaboard Railroad established its headquarters at the foot of High Street where some 500 or more employees worked. From horse drawn trains to the giants of today's railroading, there has been growth and improvement in the efficiency of the industry, The powers in Washington, DC and across the nation realized the potential and took a chance on investing their fortunes developing railroads, and in Virginia, this included Atlantic Coastline, Southern, Seaboard, Norfolk and Western, C&O, Norfolk Southern, CSX, Norfolk Portsmouth Beltline, and others, This tremendous growth did not just happen in Virginia, but spread throughout the country. It has been said that the power of railroad titans grew to the point they appeared to have as much influence on the Country as the Presidents. This is an illustrious history that has often been lost in. efforts to continue to grow without regard to the past. The Railroad Museum of Virginia was established to assure that this history is not forgotten.
Present: Those who have been involved for a number of years in this ongoing effort and served on the Board of Directors, the Advisory Board, Honorary and Ex-Officio positions, have supported this effort and played a major part in bringing the Museum to this opening event. This will not be just a celebration, but also a recognition of the efforts and determination involved to complete this project successfully. Without your assistance and support, it could not have happened, this invitation recognizes that support and extends to you appreciation from the Railroad Museum of Virginia.
Future: Among our exhibits you will find a collection of 25 photographs of locomotives that were collected and will be hung in the Museum, and just as other artifacts, will be rotated from time to time. We have collected railroad watches used by railroaders at a time when locomotive engineers were required to carry regularly tested time pieces to ensure their accuracy. In the Museum you will also see rail dog hand tools; Nolan buggy; whistle board and post; badges worn by railroad police; locomotive bell; several antique brakeman's lanterns; antique railroad locks; high switch target; rail handler; track wrench; metal blue flag; tamping bars; cross bucks; switch stand; caboose stove; railroad spikes; timetables; antique oil can; spike prier bar; switch stand parts; rerailers; rail tongs; and many other interesting items of the past.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Willard J. Moody, Sr., President C.Raeford Eure, Vice President Herman W. Bates, Secretary Kenneth R. Kwedar, Treasurer and Finance Director Donald N. Burnett James D. Curtin Jackie W. Dunn Edward C. Harris Mary Kelly Brian Mitchell Willard J Moody, Jr., Esquire Paul G. Moody, Esquire Richard M. Turner
Log of the Railroad Museum of Virginia
Any comments or information updates would be appreciated.
Kent and the crew